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Kadavumbhagam Mattancherry Synagogue

Kadavumbhagam Mattancherry Synagogue

בית הכנסת

കടവു൦ഭാഗ൦ മട്ടാഞ്ചേരി ജൂതപള്ളി
Interiors of the synagogue in the Israel Museum
AffiliationOrthodox Judaism
StatusUnder restoration
LocationMattancherry, Kerala
Geographic coordinates9°57′11″N 76°15′37″E / 9.953125°N 76.2603797°E / 9.953125; 76.2603797
StyleCochin Jewish Architecture
Completed1544 A.D
Direction of façadeSouth

Kadavumbhagam Mattancherry Synagogue aka Kadavumbhagam Synagogue ( Mal: കടവു൦ഭാഗ൦ മട്ടാഞ്ചേരി ജൂതപള്ളി or കടവു൦ഭാഗ൦ ജൂതപള്ളി ) is a Jewish synagogue located in Mattancherry, a locality in Kochi, in the coastal state of Kerala. It is one of the oldest extant synagogues in India, built in 1544 A.D.[1][2][3] It was built by the Malabar Jews who are the oldest jewish settlers in India, believed to have arrived as traders in the ancient port city of Muziris.[4][5][6][7] It was the second to be built in Mattancherry, after the Kochangadi Palli in 1344 A. D., and is one of three synagogues in the area.[5][7][6] The others being the Thekkumbhagam Mattancherry Synagogue (1647 A.D) (extinct) and the Paradesi Synagogue (1568 A.D) of the Paradesi jews of Cochin.

The name of the synagogue is believed to refer to a much older synagogue that once stood in Kodungaloor.[6][7][5][4] This synagogue is considered as one of the most ornately carved and decorated Malabar Synagogues in Kerala, particularly its wooden furnishes and interior sanctuary.[8][9][7] The name means "by the riverside" and refers to a boat dock that stood opposite the complex until the 1960s.[6][10][8][7] This palli (synagogue) was renowned for its divine miracles and stories associated and was revered by both the Malabar Jews and non Jewish locals.[11][10][12]

In 1955, the entire congregation made aliyah to Israel leaving the synagogue in disuse. It was initially encroached upon and later made into a warehouse for coir storage.[7][2][6][5] The interior furniture and women's bimah were shipped and preserved in the Israel Museum while it's hekal is presently in moshav Nehalim in Israel.[6][7][8][10]

In September 2019, after decades of neglect, the entire front portion of the sanctuary collapsed in the heavy monsoon rainfall.[13] After much public outcry,[14] the Kerala Archaeology Department took possession of the monument to save it.[12][13] Currently it is being restored to function as a heritage museum.[9][15][12]

See also


  1. ^ "The Synagogues of Kerala". Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b Daniel, Ruby (2002). Ruby of Cochin : an Indian Jewish woman remembers. Varda Books. ISBN 1-59045-649-1. OCLC 1243580690.
  3. ^ "Cochin Jews", Islam, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, Encyclopedia of Indian Religions, Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, p. 181, 2018, doi:10.1007/978-94-024-1267-3_100544, ISBN 978-94-024-1266-6, retrieved 11 October 2021
  4. ^ a b Johnson, Barbara C. Barbara C. Johnson collection of Malayalam Jewish songs from Kerala, India. OCLC 1082267935.
  5. ^ a b c d Katz, Nathan (1993). The last Jews of Cochin: Jewish identity in Hindu India. Univ. of South Carolina Press. ISBN 0-87249-847-6. OCLC 246707556.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Edna., Fernandes (2009). The last Jews of Kerala. Portobello. OCLC 705537625.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Waronker, Jay (20 October 2010). "The Synagogues Of Kerala, India: Their Architecture, History, Context, And Meaning".
  8. ^ a b c Rabinowitz Louis, Isaac (1952). Far East mission. Eagle Press. OCLC 1116199220.
  9. ^ a b M. K. Sunil Kumar (3 July 2021). "Synagogue should be a hub of Kerala Jews history: Experts". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  10. ^ a b c S., Koder, S. (1974). History of the Jews of Kerala. [publisher not identified]. OCLC 3415398.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ אופירה, גמליאל (2009). Jewish Malayalam women's songs. [publisher not identified]. OCLC 457121154.
  12. ^ a b c M. K. Sunil Kumar (13 September 2021). "Ernakulam: Archaeology department erects a roof over synagogue in Mattancherry | Kochi News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  13. ^ a b Harigovind, Abhinaya (11 September 2019). "Piece of Jewish history reduced to rubble in rain in Kerala". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  14. ^ M. K. Sunil Kumar (29 June 2021). "Kochi : Call to protect Malabari synagogue gets louder | Kochi News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  15. ^ "Kadavumbhagam Synagogue on a path to revival". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
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Kadavumbhagam Mattancherry Synagogue
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